WILKES-BARRE — New details have emerged about where former Exeter police officer Leonard Galli was in the months after he allegedly was caught setting up a sex date with a teenage boy in Plains Township last August.
Galli, 53, traveled to Florida and California, and also spent 42 days in Philadelphia, his attorney, Demetrius Fannick, said.
But Galli is not a flight risk, despite his travels to visit family and friends, Fannick successfully argued before Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr. on Wednesday, leading the judge to approve bail terms.
Dressed in a yellow inmate jumpsuit, Galli appeared before Sklarosky via video conference from the county correctional facility, where he has been jailed without bail since his arrest by county detectives last Friday.
Magistrate had denied bail
District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo Jr. in Plains Township arraigned Galli on seven sex offenses, alleging he communicated with a “witness” on Aug. 15 on a social networking site and an online dating application. Galli allegedly believed he was communicating with a 15-year-old boy.
The witness is not named in arrest records, but Musa Harris, who runs the Luzerne County Predator Catcher Facebook page, acknowledged he is the witness.
Spagnuolo denied bail for Galli, deeming him a danger to society.
In court, Fannick asked Sklarosky to establish bail for Galli, arguing he is not a flight risk and has strong community ties — including ownership of many rental proprieties and a karate school that has closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fannick also raised his concern about Galli’s exposure to the outbreak of COVID-19 inside the county correctional facility, and danger to him because he was a police officer for nearly 30 years.
Fannick said there has been no effort by Galli to flee the area and he voluntarily surrendered when he learned of the charges filed against him last week.
Assistant District Attorney Nancy Violi raised concerns about Galli’s travels to Florida, California and the 42 days he spent in Philadelphia.
In response, Fannick said Galli traveled at a time when there were no restrictions placed upon him.
Fannick further argued similar defendants arrested for online solicitation have received bail, including a defendant arrested a day before Galli who was given $100,000 bail.
County judge OKs bail
Sklarosky acknowledged that bail imposed by district judges are “all over the map.”
Violi asked that Galli submit to a mental health evaluation, which Galli did not oppose.
Sklarosky set Galli’s bail at 20% of $200,000, meaning he will need $40,000 to be released from the correctional facility.
If Galli does post bail, he is mandated to surrender his passport, all firearms registered in his name, not to leave Luzerne County without permission from the district attorney’s office, undergo a mental health evaluation and have no contact with witnesses or victims.